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Former CAG Vinod Rai Says No Regrets About 2G Acquittals, Defends Loss Figure

Former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Vinod Rai, on September 9 said he does not have any regrets about the investigation he carried out in the 2G spectrum scam, in which Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader A Raja and others were acquitted last year.

In an interview to news channel CNN-News18, Rai defended the loss figure arrived at during his investigation.

The ex-CAG had estimated a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences to private players during the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, in power between 2004-2009.

In its charge sheet, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for 2G spectrum, which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

However, a CBI court had in December 2017 acquitted all the accused and had held that some people had “artfully” arranged a few selected facts and created a scam “when there was none”.

Special CBI judge OP Saini had observed that due to various “actions and inactions” of the Department of Telecom (DoT) officials, a huge scam was seen by everyone “where there was none”.

Rai, however, said during the interview that he sticks to his estimation and said the amount was “recovered in 3G spectrum allocation”.

According to Rai, the CBI investigation was “totally different from the CAG” assessment of the loss.

“There is no question of any regret about my CAG probe in the spectrum allocation. Our job was simply to audit on the basis of government documents that were available… The loss we calculated on the basis of the 2G allocation was proved to be correct as that was the amount recovered when 3G spectrum was allocated,” Rai said during the interview, adding that he “didn’t feel sad” about the verdict.

“The CBI court went by the investigation done by the CBI, which in the words of the court was poor,” Rai said.

Speaking about the infighting within the CBI, Rai said there is urgent need to “scrutinise at Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) level on who all are coming in at top positions in the CBI”.

“It’s clear that in the case of Verma and Asthana, proper investigation wasn’t done,” Rai said while talking about former CBI chief Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana.―Money Control

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